The Letter Yellow – Walking Down The Streets

December 3rd, 2012
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That’s What I Call A Debut

Do you recall a particular mid-September evening when you were strolling alone and, for an hour or so, you felt perfectly at ease with the world and your place in it? Contented and solitary among the streetlamps, you might have thought, “The only thing I need right now is a perfect soundtrack.” If this sounds familiar, do yourself a favor and prepare for next time with The Letter Yellow’s debut LP, Walking Down The Streets.

On their first record the Brooklyn trio masterfully blends pop, blues, and rock. Vocalist and guitarist Randy Bergida’s sexy-smooth voice leads each track, rolling easily in and out of genres. Mike Thies, on drums, provides jazzy rhythms that make you want to walk in time to his hi-hat. Bassist Abe Pollack grooves just as fluidly, gliding in and out of focus. They simply play naturally together—three is their magic number.

This album has something for everyone. The bluesy “I Got You” is John Mayer-worthy, complete with a juicy guitar solo to complement Begida’s enticing voice: listen as he slides in and out of falsetto as if he’s wooed Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift. Folk fans will fall in love with “Southern Bound,” a track so poignant it deserves placement on your next road trip mix. The melodic and soulful “It’s Monday And I’m Dreaming” will please listeners who need a bit of pop. Plus, the lyrics so aptly capture that universal fantasy described in the title: “The grass tickles our shy white backs / Light a fire and kick off our shoes / The laughter cupped with wine keeps us warm.” Walking Down The Streets demonstrates not only style and variety, but talent.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same band that rocks out, 1950s-style, on “14 Bar Blues.” Now Bergida invokes Elvis, exercising his lower range and giving his best gruff growl. But wait, now they’ve got a smokin’ piano solo, too! The Letter Yellow took a risk with this one; it shocks and surprises but still delights. Perhaps it foreshadows the next step for the band?

This album feels organic, natural—exactly the sort of honest music rock fans need in this world of synthesizers and drum machines. Treat yourself and your headphones by taking an hour to go walking down the streets.

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By Tori Kerr Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

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The Letter Yellow – Walking Down The Streets